In my last blog, I wrote about how something has got to change. It is true that we are at an apex with the way that Blacks have been treated in America and people are just plain tired of it. Now it is time for lasting solutions that will empower Black people for generations to come. The progress is starting with new laws going into effect such as Breonna’s Law, which was passed unanimously in Kentucky.[i] This law does away with the “no knock” warrant that police used to break into Breonna’s home and murder her in her sleep. Although that is a move in the right direction, there still have been no arrests in Ms. Taylor’s death and the officers involved remain employed and on administrative duty. There is still lots of work to do!
Over the weekend we lost yet another Black life in Atlanta, Mr. Rayshard Brooks.[ii] This has got to stop! Another unnecessary execution of a young black man by police officers commissioned to serve and protect him. This system as-is is failing so many black and brown people. It goes deep into our psyche and infests every area of our lives; at work, in our family lives, in society at large, in politics, and literally everywhere we exist. Surviving as a black person in America is no small feat. So how do we empower ourselves and fight back?
I know you remember the Bus Boycott of the 1950’s pioneered by the late great Mrs. Rosa Parks.[iii] For one solid year African Americans banned together and refused to ride public transportation until something changed. When you are fighting a racist and capitalistic system that has been set up against you from the beginning, you must fight in a universal language, money. Why do you think it was so important that Black Wallstreet was destroyed when it was destroyed?[iv] The Black citizens were becoming increasingly wealthy and independent, which meant wealth and independence for their offspring, which meant they did not need the goods and services of their oppressors. This meant less wealth for their White counterparts and that was a threat to their sustained power. How can you control an independent people? It is extremely tough to do that when they do not need you for anything.
Pay attention to how the banking industry has historically treated its Black customers. They do not mind taking our money, lending it out to everyone but us, and charging us higher fees/interest for their services. It is not unheard of for Black people who have been clients at certain banks for years and have what they think are great relationships, to be denied loans for their homes, vehicles, and businesses.[v] It is also common when we are approved for such loans that despite having similar credit risks to our White counterparts, we pay more in fees and higher interest rates. This being said, banking Black is becoming increasingly more important. There are Black bank or credit union options in most major cities where you can take part in not only supporting a Black business but empowering the Black community as a whole.[vi]
My friends have been connecting me with so many Black businesses that I never even realized existed.[vii] Now more than ever it is important to support Black name brands that are truly Black owned. Think about some of your favorite brands and check the ownership. How has that company treated Black people in general? How are they supporting the Black communities that support them? How diverse are they at the upper levels of management? We really have to watch where we are spending our dollars and who we are truly empowering. We have the power and have had it all along. It is up to us to harness that power and band together in support of each other. If you see a brother or sister working in their business and you are in the position to support them, lend a hand. Realize that so many of us lack the support and resources necessary to truly get our businesses going. It is with the help and support of our communities that we can change this narrative and begin to empower ourselves.
What business ideas do you have? What Black businesses do you know of that we can support? What types of things would you like to see the Black community do collectively to support and protect ourselves and future generations? I for one am a huge proponent of Black people properly completing their legacy plans. I think this is an important step to empowering the next generation. Having a properly executed Will, Power of Attorney, Medical Directives, and possibly even a Trust puts you in control of what happens to your assets when you are either no longer able to manage them yourself, or you are no longer alive. This is my contribution to society and to our community. Book your complementary consultation today to discuss your legacy goals. See our Bookings page to book your consultation today.
[i] Alisha Haridasani Gupta & Christine Hauser, New Breonna Taylor Law Will Ban No-Knock Warrants in Louisville, KY, N.Y. Times ( Jun. 12, 2020), https://nytimes.com/2020/06/12/us/breonna-taylor-law-passed.html. (Breonna’s law passed unanimously by city council on June 11, 2020. Essentially bans no-knock warrants, requires police to have operating body cameras on when conducting a search, and requires cameras to be on and operational 5 mins prior to search and 5 mins after search. There is also federal legislation in consideration that would make this relevant to federal agents as well)
[ii] Grace Hauck & Niquel Terry Ellis, Rayshard Brooks death: Atlanta police officer fired; police chief steps down, USA Today (Jun. 13, 2020), https://usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/06/13/atlanta-shooting-police-officer-kills-black-man-wendys-drive-thru/3183209001/. (Apparently Mr. Brooks was at the drive-thru of the Wendy’s and had fallen asleep. Police were called to check his sobriety, and he was not sober. There was a tussle between the officers and Mr. Brooks and somehow Mr. Brooks ended up with one of the officer’s tasers. He was running away when police officers shot him in the back. The officer who shot him has been fired and the other one placed on administrative duty. The Wendy’s was burned down by protesters the next day)
[iii] History.com Editors, Montgomery Bus Boycott, https://history.com/topics/black-history/montgomery-bus-boycott (last updated Feb. 10, 2020). (A civil rights protest sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks for her refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger; during which African Americans refused to ride city buses in Montgomery, Alabama, to protest segregated seating. Took place from December 5, 1955 to December 20, 1956, and is regarded as the first large-scale U.S. demonstration against segregation. African Americans were 75% of the bus ridership at the time. That collective power, organization, and resistance opened up doors for African American bus drivers, open seating on buses, and better treatment of the very passengers who kept the bus companies in business)
[iv] Josie Pickens, Black Wall Street and the Destruction of an Institution, https://www.ebony.com/black-history/destruction-of-black-wall-street/ (last visited on Jun. 15, 2020). (Black Wall Street was in Greenwood, Oklahoma. It was 40 square blocks of Black businesses, Black home ownership and self-sufficiency that was the envy of many surrounding areas. There were over 150 Black-owned business including banks, hospitals, schools, churches all destroyed in a matter of 2 short days, May 31-June 1, 1921. The historical record documents a murderous assault on Black lives and property. Over 300 African Americans were slaughtered as they watched their dreams get looted and burned to the ground. The attack was perpetuated by the government including the National Guard and other deputized Whites, and left over 9,000 African Americans homeless)
[v] Imani Moise, African Americans Underserved by U.S. banks: study, Reuters, Aug. 13, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-bamls-race/african-americans-underserved-by-u-s-banks-study-idUSKCN1V3081. (Many Blacks lack access to mainstream financial services and depend on more expensive financial services. Black families are being underserved and overcharged by institutions that can provide the best channels for saving. Banks in Black neighborhoods typically require higher account balances to avoid service fees)
[vi] Blackout an Economic Revolution, U.S. Map of Black Banks & Credit Unions, https://blackoutcoalition.org/black-u-s-banks/ (last visited Jun. 15, 2020). (A great resource for finding Black banks, hotels and overall Black economic empowerment)
[vii] BOTWC Staff, Largest Online Marketplace for Black Owned Businesses Just Launched Fulfillment Operations, Because of Them We Can, https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/blogs/news/the-largest-online-marketplace-for-black-oned-businesses-just-launched-a-distribution-operation. (last visited Jun. 15, 2020)